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Financial Literacy: Research Studies & Reports

This guide provides a general overview of financial literacy, including reading materials, videos and personal finance resources at Toronto Metropolitan University Library.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)

is an independent agency of the Government of Canada that is responsible for ensuring federally regulated financial entities comply with consumer protection measures, in addition to raising consumer awareness of rights and responsibilities regarding financial services and products. In 2013, the FCAC’s mandate expanded to include activities that contribute to strengthening financial literacy in Canada.

The following are a few FCAC research reports and studies on financial literacy in Canada:

Progress report: Canada’s National Research Plan on Financial Literacy 2016-2018

April 2018

This report describes the progress made in advancing financial literacy research in Canada since the release of the National Research Plan on Financial Literacy 2016-2018.

National Research Plan for Financial Literacy 2016-2018

FCAC Research and Policy
April 2017

This document presents Canada’s 2016-2018 National Research Plan for Financial Literacy. The objective of the Plan is to focus efforts and enhance coordination among researchers to generate key empirical evidence that will contribute to the successful implementation of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy—Count me in, Canada.

Initiating budgeting behaviour among non-budgeters: A financial literacy pilot using mobile technology

FCAC Research and Policy
April 2017

As a means of exploring innovative ways of reaching and engaging Canadians, FCAC piloted its financial education material through the Carrot Rewards mobile application. This report explores the impact of FCAC’s financial education materials on knowledge, confidence, and behaviours related to budgeting.

Financial Consumers’ Rights and Responsibilities – 2016

Ipsos Public Affairs Canada
February 2017

Ipsos Public Affairs Canada conducted a national survery of 2,000 Canadians to measure the extent to which Canadians are aware of their financial rights and responsibilities.  This study was commissioned by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

The link between financial confidence and financial outcomes among working-aged Canadians

Boris Palameta, Cam Nguyen, Taylor Shek-wai Hui and David Gyarmati, The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation
May 2016

This study examines the links between financial knowledge, financial confidence and a range of important financial outcomes among working-aged Canadians.  It draws attention to psychological underpinnings of financial decision-making and emphasizes the central importance of financial confidence in financial decision-making, behaviours and outcomes.  The report was commissioned by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

Find more research reports and studies on the FCAC website.

Study on Collegiate Financial Wellness (SCFW)

The Study on Collegiate Financial Wellness (SCFW) (formerly the National Student Financial Wellness Study), conducted by Ohio State University (OSU) – Center for the Study of Student Life, is a multi-institutional survey of college students that examines the financial attitudes, practices and knowledge of students from all types of institutions of higher education across the United States via an online survey.  The survey was first administered in 2014.

SCFW Data & Results (2014, 2017, 2020)

More OSU financial literacy related reports and data

SCFW – York University (2014)

York University has been the only Canadian institution to ever participate in the SCFW.  In 2014, 500 York University students from the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies were surveyed as a part of the SCFW. 

Latest Research

You can find a number of articles (scholarly, trade, or news) published on financial literacy.  Connect to an article database and use keywords and phrases, such as “financial literacy”, to find relevant material.  Add more keywords and phrases to broaden or narrow your search. 

The following article databases are good starting points: Scholars Portal Journals, Emerald Journals, ProQuest One Business, ProQuest Databases Platform, Factiva.


Popular Personal Financial Advice versus the Professors [Working Paper] - James J. Choi [October 2022]

I survey the advice given by the fifty most popular personal finance books and compare it to the prescriptions of normative academic economic models. Popular advice frequently departs from normative principles derived from economic theory, which should motivate new hypotheses about why households make the financial choices they do, as well as what financial choices households should make. Popular advice is sometimes driven by fallacies, but it tries to take into account the limited willpower individuals have to stick to a financial plan, and its recommended actions are often easily computable by ordinary individuals. I cover advice on savings rates, the advisability of being a wealthy hand-to-mouth consumer, asset allocation, non-mortgage debt management, simultaneous holding of high-interest debt and low-interest savings, and mortgage choices.


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

The OECD is an intergovernmental economic organization with 37 member countries; the mission of the OECD is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world, including conducting global research on financial literacy.  Find reports and studies related to financial literacy on the OECD’s free website.

Alternatively, you can search for more financial literacy literature on the OECD iLibrary database (TMU Library subscription).  Conduct a search for “financial literacy” in the ‘Search all content’ search bar, then use the limiters to refine your results if needed.